At this point in the season, the Florida Panthers are open to trading virtually anyone and everyone, if it will help them continue building towards future success. Injuries to Stephen Weiss and Kris Versteeg, both of which were season-ending, won’t help them achieve that any sooner.
But there’s another veteran that has found his way into some trade rumors of late: defenseman Brian Campbell.
Campbell has been terrific, quietly, since joining the Panthers last summer. His old general manage Dale Tallon, who signed Campbell to his monster contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, went out and got him again in a draft day trade in the summer of 2011.
After this season, Campbell still has three years left on his deal with a cap hit over $7 million. Teams aren’t going to like that too much, but he’s still going to garner interest. He’s still an elite puck mover from the blue line and is a very capable player in his own end.
Campbell posted a career-high 53 points from the blue line last year and won the Lady Byng Trophy. This year, he has 18 in 30 games. Not a bad total at all. His minus-18 is pretty awful, though, and it’s not helped by the fact that the team around him is absolutely miserable.
Teams that have some cap flexibility, contenders especially, are going to have interest in Campbell. He’s a solid locker room guy and a defenseman capable of playing in the top pairing. But the fact that he’s Dale Tallon’s boy raises the question of whether or not the Panthers will actually put serious thought into trading him before this year’s trade deadline.